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Game 2013. Playoffs 1: Tigers at A’s

After 162 games and 162 game posts and after how many countless ups and downs, here are the Tigers right where we expected them to be from the first “Play Ball!” on the chilly April Fool’s Day that began the season: right where they were last season, beginning play in the ALDS against Oakland, representing the Central Division.

The Tigers didn’t exactly finish the season with a roar:  they lost 5 of their last 7, and only scored 14 runs in the process, a meager output for what is supposed to be one of the best offenses in the league. But this is a new season right now: all bets are off, we start over from scratch, and there is no such thing as momentum (just ask Cleveland, after they roared into the Wild Card game off of a 4-game win streak.

This is the 2nd season in a row that the Tigers have kicked off the postseason against the A’s; the two teams are establishing a serious friendly rivalry (and it is friendly: unlike most rivalries it is difficult to think of any real contentious moments between the teams, unless you want to go back to 1972 when Bert Campaneris launched his bat at Lerrin Lagrow).

*****

ALDS Schedule:

*If necessary

(Game 4 will be at 5:07 if the Rays and Red Sox are still going, or 7:07 if they are over).

(Game 5 will be at 9:07 if the Rays and Red Sox are still going, or 8:07 if they are over).

Series umpires: Gary Darling (crew chief), Tom Hallion, CB Bucknor, Mike DiMuro, Jim Reynolds, Mark Wegner. I don’t believe any of these umpires have ejected Jim Leyland or Miguel Cabrera this season.

TBS TV crew: Don Orsillo (voice of the Red Sox), Buck Martinez, and Dennis Eckersley. The Eck is a treat to listen to.

Detroit ALDS roster:

Pitchers:

Position Players:

Notable omissions: Bruce Rondon (elbow soreness), Phil Coke (Phil Cokeness), Matt Tuiasosopo.

Jim Leyland said he will be making out his lineup using “some statistical analysis, some guy feeling, a combination of those things.” We’ll leave it to our clever readers to figure out which move is which.

During the Tampa Bay-Texas Game 163 event, there was much clucking of tongues by the broadcast crew about Texas having Nelson Cruz back from his 50-game suspension. The home audience had no such qualms, and gave him a standing ovation. I expect there will be a bit of chatter when Jhonny Peralta first enters the series, and I think for the fans it will be a non-event. It would probably be fitting if he is brought in to face Big Bart Colon, who quietly sat out 50 games last season for a testosterone violation.

*****

While the Tigers ended the season with a lull, the A’s went out with guns blazing. They won 7 of their last 10, but it’s the manner in which they did it that catches the eye. Not known as an offensive power, they put up 72 runs over their last 10 games, including a four-game sweep of Minnesota in which they scored 8, 11, 9, and 11. Yes, it’s Minnesota–who went on to play Detroit and held them to 3, 4, and 1. Luckily, there is no momentum when it comes to the postseason.

Oakland won the season series between the two teams 4-3, and took 3 out of 4 in Detroit in August. Here are the box scores for the season series for those who are interested:

OAK 4, DET 3

DET 7, OAK 3

DET 10, OAK 1

OAK 8, DET 6

OAK 6, DET 3

OAK 14, DET 4

DET 7, OAK 6

*****

About that stadium. O.co Coliseum–which has to be the worst-named stadium in baseball–is the white elephant of stadiums. It is unique in having an enormous foul territory, and, mysteriously, seems either impossible or reasonable to hit a ball out of, depending on…well, something, who knows. I’ve seen a lot of games in this stadium, under its previous, more mellifluous names. Back in the day one had a very pleasant view of sunset against the Oakland hills until Al Davis built “Mount Davis” in centerfield (an addition for extra football seating), which has all the charm of…well, of Al Davis. The A’s have gotten their revenge by playing into October on a regular basis, which means the Raiders have to play on dirt (O.co remains the only multi-use football-baseball stadium).

The best part about the stadium though is that the bullpens are on the field, down the right field and left field foul lines, and the seats behind the bullpen areas are some of the best inexpensive seats in all of baseball. It is a very different thing watching these guys from, say, 20 feet away, and you notice all sorts of things you wouldn’t otherwise (Al Alburquerque has an incredibly upright posture). Who knows when they will finally get a new stadium: currently they are in the middle of a lawsuit against MLB to get a San Jose stadium (San Jose is technically San Francisco Giants territory; depending who you listen to this lawsuit will amount to nothing, or threaten the whole MLB antitrust exemption).

*****

Just for fun, I’ll throw this in in case anyone wants to look back and see what ESPN’s predictions were before the season started. The Tigers were the AL favorites to win the World Series; the overwhelming NL favorites were the Nationals (oops).

Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Alex Avila. Let’s call it a gut feeling.

Today’s Postseason Opening Day Lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Avila, C
  7. Infante, 2B
  8. Dirks, LF
  9. Iglesias, SS

Posted by on October 4, 2013.

Categories: 2013 Season, Game Post, Playoffs

100 Responses

  1. did Leyland mention his statistical info comes from Kinko!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  2. I appreciate Leyland’s candor in admitting that “guy feeling” influences his lineup decisions.

    But seriously. How am I supposed to follow this act, Coleman? Nice post.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm

  3. Ditto…good one Coleman. Let’s enjoy this one Boys!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

  4. “DETOIT at Oakland” up top. Just being a helpful proofreader, honest.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm

  5. That’s even funnier since I cut-and-pasted the quote from an official site (which has since been corrected).

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

  6. Kinko’s. OK, that was just for fun.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

  7. I was gonna ask you how you did that. I felt bad about making you do over what looked like a pretty serious job of photo-editing, layering, etc..

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:17 pm

  8. Oops. You were talking about the quote. Still wondering about the photo. Is that one of our templates, or…?

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm

  9. Ack!

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm

  10. Well, it was easily fixed, apparently. Good. But what about Max’s eye colors being reversed?

    Just kidding.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  11. Laird can still throw..that was a lazer on the steal attempt in the 9th…Avila and worse Pena both look like they are in slow motion campared to Laird….just sayin!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

  12. First pitch will be on TNT, since TBS is still on Atlanta-LA.

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

  13. At times the Tigers have hammered Calon….lets do iit today

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

  14. Send the ole man to the showers! Ambush’em boys!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

  15. exactly the start we needed!!!!!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

  16. Nice job Alex! Nobody can claim I don’t have a gut.

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

  17. good gut…Coleman!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  18. TBS’ strike-a-thon is really calibrated?

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm

  19. Tiger just scored more runs in the first inning than the last two games in Miami!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm

  20. I am afraid to ask what Leyland means by “guy feeling”.

    by PHToy in HK on Oct 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

  21. I didn’t know Delmon Young started in left today!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm

  22. I have a guy feeling that Dirks didn’t play that very well.

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm

  23. No surprise Tui is not on the roster – he pretty much played himself off. The bullpen still looks scary (bad) -bummer about Rondon, not bummer about Coke though.

    So. if and when the A’s get a new stadium, will they be known as the Oakland Athletics of San Jose? It’s a California thing, right?

    by Vince in MN on Oct 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm

  24. Do we dare let these Oakland/San Jose fanatics get closer to the field?

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

  25. Hunter was safe (bad call #1).

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm

  26. The TNT announcer said Tori attempted steal of 2nd was a bad play even though he said he was safe. Go figure!

    by Doug of troy on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

  27. There are a couple guys whose beards would be in danger of reaching fair territory.

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:22 pm

  28. Or sombereros?

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

  29. Glad to see Oakland has opened up their third deck! Fans deserve seats if they are avaiilable.

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm

  30. Brookens is in postseason form, hasn’t lost a thing.

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm

  31. 3 hits and no runs. When have we seen that before.

    by Doug of troy on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm

  32. I realize it was a close play, and took a very good throw, but has Victor Martinez (Slo-Mart) EVER been safe on one of those? There was that one a couple of years ago when he tap-danced around the tag, but since then?

    by Coleman on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

  33. Fundamentals Dirks. God gave you two hands for a reason.

    by tbran on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm

  34. Brookens has proven that he is a graduate of the Lamont school of 3rd base coaching. I think he graduated with honors.

    by tbran on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  35. Max Sherzer…your maginficant right hander!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm

  36. Just keep dealin MAX!!!..two more innings please!

    by judpma on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm

  37. I hope the pitching holds up, because this is the same offense we watched for the last 3 weeks or so of the season.

    by Vince in MN on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm

  38. Uh oh.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:06 am

  39. 105 pitches – about that time for Max.

    by Vince in MN on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

  40. sure is a lot of work getting add on runs that we never get!!!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:12 am

  41. I’m thinking that now would be a really good time for our long ball hitters to, well, go long for a change.

    by tbran on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

  42. 3-4-5…oh nevermind…MAX its still you

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:24 am

  43. pinch runner..el stupido!!!!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

  44. Avilas last hit vs a LH was in 2011..Pinch hitter….nevermind!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:27 am

  45. You don’t want to hurt his feelings.

    by Vince in MN on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

  46. You don’t want to hurt his feelings either.

    by Vince in MN on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:30 am

  47. Mountain Drew!!

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

  48. Smyly…..Atta boy!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

  49. Ah, but apparently his feelings don’t matter.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:38 am

  50. Barton may have a golden one by the end of the game.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:42 am

  51. can’t ask for more than this on the road…well you could but….

    lets finish it!!!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:43 am

  52. the Peralta at bat made zero sense…at least Dirks can play left protecting the one run lead!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:50 am

  53. They’ll put the Donkey out there.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:52 am

  54. Platoon. That’s the way it is.

    by Vince in MN on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:53 am

  55. 10 hits…3 runs business as usual…3 runs with 1 out and 26 outs later!!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:55 am

  56. your right… he platoons except for his son Alex in a huge at bat and hes got a catcher hitting 300 on the bench

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 12:58 am

  57. by the way this beard thing….sucks….keep it in hockey!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:00 am

  58. un-Frickin- hittable…Benoit!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:03 am

  59. Money on the mound tonight: Max to Smyly to Benoit, what a performance.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:08 am

  60. Whoa….good one Max and Benoit!!!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:10 am

  61. This is the series of the guy feeling. Tigers got it. A’s don’t.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:10 am

  62. And God Bless you Drew Smyly!!!!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:13 am

  63. i will give Mumbles a little credit for his pitching..he didn’t use Varas or AlAl…and letting Smyly go an almost inning was smart…no steals on the pitchers was a key

    JV and Sanchez yet…!!!

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:14 am

  64. Very nice. Subtract one pitch and it wasn’t even close. Great start.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:15 am

  65. Like Tinker to Evers to Chance. If the Tigers had a “second line” to match this… well, just imagine. They’d be a juggernaut.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:18 am

  66. Well said Judpma!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

  67. Uhhh….one small quibble with your pre-game write-up Coleman. I would say there were some contentious moments last year after Al-Al’s infamous kiss of the baseball after he fielded a comebacker to the mound late in Game 2 at Comerica Park. The A’s did not take too kindly to Al-Al’s showboating.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

  68. That’s a game that I love!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:19 am

  69. I think it was a typo and was probably meant to read “gut feeling”.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:20 am

  70. That reminds me, tomorrow Michigan plays Minnesota. They’ll either win the Jug, or not.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:20 am

  71. Brookens is stealing money from Mike Ilitch. Its really that simple.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:22 am

  72. Mike Iltch will glad pay for such a gamble!

    by Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:23 am

  73. They had better. Will lose my frickin’ mind if they don’t.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:24 am

  74. story of tomorrows game will be JV ‘s pitch count and when hi hits 80…3-4 inning or 7-8 inning

    by judpma on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:25 am

  75. In that situation I would have sent the runner every time–unless the runner was Martinez or Cabrera (Cabrera being thrown out by Donaldson after he made an error was painful to watch). Even Fielder. Unfortunately, the runner was…Martinez.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:25 am

  76. I had a sinking feeling that 3 runs was all we’d get, but TIGERS WIN!!! Rooooooarrr! I’m barely able to breathe right now, but the boys held on. I will build a shrine in honor of Joaquin Benoit!

    by Jason on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:26 am

  77. Now that was a man’s SAVE!! Four up and four down protecting a one run lead on the road. Striking out the side in the ninth the legit way (not one of these give up two hits but strike out three and having the announcers calling it striking out the side) in the ninth. ONE-TWO-THREE. Next to no stress in the ninth. That’s the way Jerry likes it!!! Coming home no worse than even. LETS GO TIGERS!!!

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

  78. We’ll probably know early how it will turn out. Verlander is susceptible to shaky starts, and the Tigers are susceptible to late inning batlessness. If he can cruise through the first few innings though…should be worth staying up for!

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

  79. He got 3 strike outs AND an assist in the 9th!

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:30 am

  80. I’m going to go out on a limb, and guess that that was the first postseason save EVER with no hits, no walks, 3 K’s and an assist in the 9th.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:31 am

  81. Absolutely. Thank goodness that Ol’ Smoky didn’t get stubborn and try to run Verlander out there for Game 1. I was pleasantly surprised when he actually went along with conventional thinking regarding who should get the Game 1 start (not like Ol’ Smoky at all to do that). Max deserved to start tonight because he has been a rock out there all season long. Kudos to Ol’ Smoky for not trying to overthink it and get cute by starting the very up and down Justin Verlander.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:31 am

  82. I think that limb will hold you. :-)

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:33 am

  83. Was impressed with Francona running out Salazar in the Wild Card game. He was good too, just couldn’t last. And impressed again that he went right to Masterson out of the bullpen. It shows it’s possible to be a “player’s manager” and still not always go by the book.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:36 am

  84. That’s just it. He sends guys that he has no business sending. If its Austin Jackson or Torii Hunter I’ve got no problem with it, but VMart??? You have to hold him there with one out and hope that someone behind him gets a hit or a sac fly. Sending VMart with his lack of speed combined with Reddick’s good arm is a losing proposition.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:36 am

  85. I wonder how long until someone figures out that he set a record.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:38 am

  86. Why would Mike Ilitch gladly pay for such a gamble?? That makes no sense. Its a losing gamble when you factor in VMart’s lack of speed and Reddick’s arm strength. Vmart loses that battle nine out of ten times. Ilitch should have been fuming in his owner’s box after such incompetence from Brookens. I’ll say it again: Brookens is stealing Ilitch’s money. He is without a doubt the worst in the biz when it comes to MLB third base coaches.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:40 am

  87. You can thank good ol’ Tommy Brookens in part for that scoreless inning.

    by Jerry the Tiger Fan on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:41 am

  88. I mean it IS sort of ridiculous that you can have 3 singles in an inning and still have bases loaded. But this is just something the Tigers will have to deal with; waving guys home doesn’t make them any faster. The Tigers, especially Cabrera, seemed visibly upset in the dugout after. Did they think Victor was safe? He seemed clearly out to me. Or were they also upset that he was sent?

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:42 am

  89. Brookens at least seems to have a philosophy, which is an aggressive one–send and make the other team make a play. I like that philosophy in general, but you have to temper it to the situation, which he doesn’t. Gene Lamont, on the other hand, seemed to randomly generate send/hold signals (some of which it may be came from physical problems, which deserves more sympathy than condemnation).

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:47 am

  90. Victor should have been sent and Brookens was right. It’s not like he was out by 10 feet. It took a laser beam throw, perfectly on line, for the putout. Even with someone like Reddick in RF, that’s far less than 50% likelihood. The percentage play was to send him.

    by Jason on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:50 am

  91. Well, the A’s can’t strike out 16 times and hope to win any games in this series.

    by Jason on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:52 am

  92. Well, then the Tigers are just bucking the odds. That’s the 4th time he’s been thrown out on one of those 50% plays this season.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 1:56 am

  93. The A’s don’t strike out much as a team, in general (and they see a lot of pitches; a very good combination). Was tonight an anomaly? Were the Tiger pitchers that good? Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

  94. BTW I completely disagree with the TBS announcers about the Torii Hunter out at 2nd base (“he was safe, but it’s still a bad idea”). It was a smart play–2 outs, and he saw a chance to get himself in scoring position. Also smart but unsuccessful: Iglesias trying to bunt his way on, after he saw Donaldson looking shaky on a couple of plays at 3rd.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:07 am

  95. Someone was suggesting to me that Miguel was upset that Infante didn’t take 2nd on the play. Didn’t think of that. Actually that IS sort of lame.

    by Coleman on Oct 5, 2013 at 2:12 am

  96. I can only add these gems… my wife was agape at the body of Mr Cespedes… until I noted that he is younger than our sons… that was nerve wracking fun… and I had many gut feelings, coulda been the pork chop I had for dinner…

    by JimEggersUSMC on Oct 5, 2013 at 3:19 am

  97. Good call. Now I remember. That was contentious.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:13 am

  98. Um…

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:14 am

  99. Yeah, that’s pretty neat.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:15 am

  100. In my experience, Jim, it pays dividends to let the wife have such fun. Don’t be jealous. Cespedes is on TV. You’re there. Just sayin’.

    by Smoking Loon on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:39 am

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About the Site Detroit Tigers Weblog was launched in July, 2001. At the time it was the only Tigers blog and it resided as a blogspot page. There were multiple authors and it mostly consisted of links to the rare times the Tigers were mentioned in the national media. We only had a few dozen […]more →

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